COCKROACHES could be more of a health benefit than a health hazard, as their brains contain powerful antibiotic properties which could lead to new treatments against superbugs.
Experts from The University of Nottingham, central England, discovered that the insects - commonly seen as unhygienic pests - contain powerful antibiotic properties in their brain tissue and nervous system which are able to kill more than 90 per cent of MRSA and E coli bacteria, without harming human cells.
Simon Lee, a postgraduate researcher at the university, said his research identified up to nine different molecules in the insect tissues that were toxic to bacteria: "We hope that these molecules could eventually be developed into treatments for E coli and MRSA infections that are increasingly resistant to current drugs. These new antibiotics could potentially provide alternatives to currently available drugs that may be effective but have serious and unwanted side effects."
Professor Lee, who was due to present his work at the Society for General Microbiology's northern Autumn meeting, added, "Insects often live in unsanitary and unhygienic environments where they encounter many different types of bacteria. It is therefore logical that they have developed ways of protecting themselves against micro-organisms."
Dr Naveed Khan, who is supervising Professor Lee's work said: "Superbugs such as MRSA have developed resistance against the chemotherapeutic artillery that we throw at them. They have shown the ability to cause untreatable infections, and have become a major threat in our fight against bacterial diseases. Thus, there is a continuous need to find additional sources of novel antimicrobials to confront this menace."
[Sep 7, 2010] COCKROACHES could be more of a health benefit than a health hazard, as their brains contain powerful antibiotic properties which could lead to new treatments against ...